Wake up in the morning and surround yourself in the middle of cobble concrete jungle, endless blue canals, smell of coffee, sun-kissed buildings, masks galore, music and you’re in San Giacomo.
Now imagine two women, one mother, one daughter often mistaken as sisters, with their two huge suitcases, backpacks and sweaty bodies tumbling through the airport in Venice, trying to carry their bodies and luggage from one side of the airport to the other to get onto a boat.
Yep a boat.
Two huge suitcases, 10 other people on board, with their 20 suitcases,
S W E A T Y & tired, but boy were we hungry, hungry for food but hungry to see what the city of water looked like.
As soon as we had arrived in Venice I was speechless, this one island, hidden from the chaos and blubber of the airport, hidden from the rest of the world, and no matter how touristy or picturesque this place was I felt so at ease. Myself and my mother had luckily picked a very quiet, local and calm location in the heart of Venice, San Giacomo, a place where Venice felt more peaceful then any location I’ve ever emerged myself into.
Never have I been welcomed into a city so beautifully before, the locals of San Giacomo made us feel so at home and were so kind to offer us an experience I’ll never forget. “Get lost in Venice, you won’t regret it”, and so the next two days consisted of a lot of pasta, night scavenging to get across one side of the island to the other, sunsets so beautiful, more pasta, music, festivals and culture so special that I never wanted to leave this island.
Though the real highlight of this island for me was one special man, on our first night in Venice my mother and I were extremely hungry so we decided to clean ourselves up and quickly fill our stomachs. We were drawn by a festival nearby our home, practically 1 minute away. The heart of San Giacomo square held this annual summer festival which included live entertainment for hours, with many locals partying it up, barely any tourists, me and mum were captivated.
We decided to pick a small little restaurant nearby, our waiter a local elderly gentleman who was very kind to us and also charming, making our experience even more better. Now you’re probably thinking, Jules, it’s their job to be as kind as possible to customers, and tourists, but this man was so much more than that, he didn’t treat us like tourists.
The next day we decided to obviously explore Venice and boy did we explore, I’m sure me and my mother had walked across the whole island and every-time we found a new location we were more and more captivated with this city, and more and more eager to find limoncello and wear some new socks that weren’t wet and gross.
Throughout the day we had bumped into this gentlemen and talked with him about your journeys in Venice, and we found ourselves back at his restaurant multiple times, and every-time our relationship with him had changed, from customers to friends.
He was so kind every-time, and would often bring us free drinks one day, and then discount our meal in the end to 50% making us pay merely anything, his presence and hospitality had become so loyal to us that he was another reason we didn’t want to leave Venice. By the end of the trip, many Spritz and pizza’s later he had taught us some Italian, and stolen our hearts by his genuine kindness. He had given us his email, and we promised him we would come back and visit the local suburb of San Giacomo, and saying bye to him was just as hard as saying bye to Venice, he was truly that one stranger who had become our Italian grandpa and wise wizard guiding us through Venice through his stories, food, drinks, language and kindness, and for that reason Venice was so beautiful.
From Venice to Rome the history of this beautiful country continued to inspire and influence me. Rome was much bigger, busier, chaotic and humid than Venice. Rome was always buzzing, no matter what time of the day, tourists were E V E R Y W H E R E.
Rome was stunning in a sense of its history, the iconic Colosseum, Roman Forum, the Vatican, it was all compelling and a sight to uncover, how could such history and ancient magic architecture begin to exist beneath all the chaos within Rome. I truly felt like I was uncovering the pages of an ancient historical book, with every page I turned the more I walked around this city, feeling ancient myself, but surrounded by 21st society, and tourists who made it feel, unfortunately less special.
To myself, Rome felt less special compared to Venice, of course studying Ancient History at school was one of my favourite moments through my educational endeavours, and being able to walk through all the history was magical, but there was a but.
Tourists were flooding all this magic, and it felt more like an art gallery than a journey, I was walking around and looking at the same photos, art as thousands of others, and I was amongst so much chaos, that I barely heard any peace and quiet to feel as mesmerised as I was in Venice. It was truly at night when Rome was slightly more peaceful, that I could really get my head around this city.
Now I’m not saying I hated Rome, i’m simply stating, that tourism has ruined its captivating sense, and slowly making each historical landscape just another photo in a gallery, rather than a physical journey and experience. But no matter how many tourists, children, propaganda and consumerism had overcome Rome, I still found myself wanting to explore it more, especially those places were Tourists were invisible, yet I was a tourist myself.
And now the Finale.
Italy was stunning, and If I could hop back onto a plane any moment and fly back I would, but for now I can only watch back the memories and write about them like I have now.
Yes, EUROPE CHANGED MY LIFE.
I am now a new, cultured (yes, don’t @ me) person, ready to enrich myself in more carbs.
Hope whoever read these three blogs about my journey through Europe, enjoyed them and was able to somehow visualise each location like I did through my own eyes.
Please let me know what you all thought and don’t forget to watch each vlog on my journey to Europe through my Youtube channel and even give me a cheeky like and subscribe to my channel.
Love Jules xo